Focus your media to be more effective in uncertain times

Date posted: 20 Mar 2020

Posted by: Smithfield

Post category: News

Current situation

Coronavirus has hit every headline over the last few weeks, causing a sense of global panic. It’s a time of great uncertainty, raising concerns around both the global health system and the economy. We are seeing a rapid uptake in flexible working as businesses look at how to protect their staff and minimize the impact on their business to ensure the safety of both. For employees there is a fear not only on their health, but on the future of their job and for small businesses, micro businesses, sole traders and contractors there is the uncertainty of how long the pandemic will last for, and will they be able to survive if work stops.

Brands are now in the eye of this storm. Companies across a range of industries will be moving fast into cost-cutting mode, which will inevitably impact their marketing spend, as it’s a highly controllable cost. It’s also going to cause significant changes to consumer habits. 

Coronavirus is in almost every conversation people are having; 90% of consumers are extremely or very concerned about the pandemic (Global Web Index, Coronavirus Research, March 2020). What is surprising is that it is the younger generation who are more concerned, 60% of Gen z’s and Millennials vs 40% of Baby Boomers. This same research found that Gen Z are most likely to believe the myths surrounding COVID 19.

Consumer behaviours are changing, as people work out how to adapt to the unknown. There has been a 40% increase in reading a newspaper more frequently, to 20% altering their daily routines to avoid crowded places. The knock on effect is that destination places like restaurants, are seeing fewer visitors.

This move to a working from home policy by businesses will have an impact not only commuter city’s, like London and Manchester, but also on key infrastructure both travel and technical. If you look at the latest Google Trends data, you can see there has been increased searches around Zoom (a video conferencing platform). Yet, if everyone is video conferencing during the day, will the infrastructure cope. Microsoft Teams suffered outages on Monday 16 March as it struggled with the increased demand caused by remote working https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/microsoft-teams-down-as-coronavirus-remote-working-takes-hold.

With all these changes, to both consumer and businesses, there is an increasing concern (50% fear a global recession is now likely according to Global Web Index) that we will enter a global recession, one which we have been narrowly avoiding for the past year. We wrote about marketing in a recession late last year / earlier this year, and this still holds true in todays uncertain times. You can read the article here.

Yet, stopping all your media could be detrimental to long-term health of the business. Take a more measured approach. Consider your messaging, is it relevant to today’s environment, will it drive offence? Is your channel mix right. Look at how you can build brand equity in times where consumers are afraid. How can you help them, and add value to their lives when we are potentially all going to be isolated at home. 

Whatever you decide to do, please stay safe and look after your family, and friends. We are in for an unprecedented journey for the like with which we have not witnessed. We will keep you regularly updated on what is happening to the world of media, and if you have any questions on anything then please do give us a call.

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